The Declaration of Independence was signed 243 years ago.
July 4th commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America. Signed 243 years ago, this document laid the philosophical foundation of the American ideals of free speech and press, and paved the way for later recognition of these rights.
Almost 2.5 centuries later...
Almost two and a half centuries later, Humanities Montana is invested in examining the connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. The Informed Citizen program provides access to scholars, journalists, and Pulitzer Prize winners in order to engage students and the public in conversations on topics that explore and analyze the role of the news media in Montana and nationally.
Informed Citizen has engaged over 2,000 people in nearly 30 communities.
Since its inception, Informed Citizen has engaged over 2,000 people in nearly 30 communities throughout Montana. For more information or to book an Informed Citizen program click here→
We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.
Supporting literacy and literary programs is part of our mission. We love to recognize the amazing work of other organizations and support excellence through the annual Montana Center for the Book Prize.
Up to five award-winning programs each receive $1,000 in recognition of their creative and wide-reaching literary programming.
Past prize recipients have included family reading programs, writers in the schools programs, reading promotion in reservation communities, and writing workshops held in prisons and detention centers, to name just a few.
The deadline to submit nominations is July 15.
Organizations are encouraged to nominate themselves—tell us about your work!
Big Sky Reads is our way of supporting book clubs and readers. We provide $500 stipends to book clubs for trained discussion leaders, author visits, book shipping, marketing, and other costs that enhance the humanities value of a program.
Rachel Rawn, director of the Havre-Hill County Library, says, “Big Sky Reads made it possible for us to purchase 20 copies of each book we read for our Winter Reading Series this year, 80 books in total. One of the books we read was the 2017 winner of the Montana Book Award, The Wonder of Birds. Thanks to the money from the Big Sky Reads program and our Friends of the Library, we were able to pay for the author Jim Robbins to travel to Havre from Helena, and discuss his book with us in person. Jim was wonderful and everyone who came to the discussion had a great time.” You can find Big Sky Reads events in your area by searching our calendar or joining our Facebook group.
Humanities Montana is throwing a party for public humanities and everyone is invited! Join us on Thursday, September 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Barn on Mullan in Missoula as we unveil our “new look,” say farewell to departing board members, and much more. Bring your dancing shoes and appetite. More details coming soon…
Tami Haaland is Professor and Chair of English at Montana State University Billings, a statewide leader on poetry education who has served as Montana’s poet laureate. She also volunteers extensively in the Billings area to encourage literary engagement among citizens of all ages and backgrounds.
“If we believe that poetry brings us hope in hard times, that is takes the world and makes it new, if we believe that poetry changes lives, if we believe that it is one of those essential human activities that transforms ourselves and our world, then we understand how profound Ms. Haaland’s contribution has been,” shares nominator Danell Jones.
Read Tami’s full humanities impact statement by clicking her photo here.
Living the Humanities: Debby Randall
Debby Randall has served as the Humanities Montana staff accountant for the past seven years. Though her accounting expertise is invaluable to our organization, Debby’s contributions expand outside the numerical - she also writes fiction inspired by her own life experiences. Her work demonstrates how the humanities can be accessible to everyone.
“Working with Humanities Montana opened my mind beyond accounting,” she said. “It showed me that writing and poetry weren’t just for professionals.”
When she’s not working, Debby is taking writing courses, spending time with her five grandchildren, or riding her Harley.
Opportunity Grants Awarded: May-June
Two Dot Schoolhouse Writers’ Retreat, Upper Musselshell Historical Society, Harlowton, $1,000. Support for a four-day retreat at Two Dot Schoolhouse Studios for writers featuring Debra Magpie Earling as lead writer, including a public program on June 14.
Global Education Initiatives Road Trip, World Affairs Council of Montana, Missoula, $1,000. Funding for travel to rural communities to promote the Council’s Global Initiatives including their youth program Academic WorldQuest.
Creative Indigenous Collective Art Exhibit and Panel Discussion, ImagineIF Library, Kalispell, $1,000. Funding to support the “Step Into a World” exhibit and panel discussion in February 2020.
The Higgins Ridge Fire Oral History and Public Presentation, National Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula, $1,000. Funding to collect oral histories on the response to the 1961 Higgins Ridge Fire. The histories will be the basis for the first public program as part of the Museum’s new Conservation History Lecture series on Saturday, June 29.
Ending Racism Workshop, MSU-Northern Extension Service, Havre, $1,000. The June 22 workshop will focus on terminology, history of marginalized peoples in Montana, and education on microaggressions and cultural exploitation.
Greek Insights for Today’s America: A Community Conversation, Carroll College, Helena, $990. Support for an evening symposium, September 12, discussing classical Greek philosophical insights that can help Montanans navigate contemporary life.
The Write Question
We’re pleased to have the opportunity to support the 12th season of The Write Question on Montana Public Radio. With a goal of deepening the dialogue about the complex nature of the West and its rich literary scene, the show features authors and poets who write about the Western United States, including novelists such as James Lee Burke, Joe Wilkins, and Carrie Le Seur.
Opportunity Grants (quick-action grants up to $1,000) are currently available for organizations seeking funding for humanities programs. Look for Humanities Montana’s larger grant awards after November 1, 2019. Please call Humanities Montana’s staff at 243-6022 to discuss Opportunity Grants and other possible funders for your work.
The Revisiting Montana 1889 Facebook Group will spend July discussing Rudyard Kipling’s visit to Livingston, Clara McAdow’s pleas for women’s suffrage in the new constitution, Lizzie Fisk’s discomfort with women in public life, Pierre Wibaux’s cattle kingdom, and Samuel Hauser’s search for investors in a new mining venture. The Montana Historical Society is hosting this lively monthly conversation based on Humanities Montana’s executive director Ken Egan’s book Montana 1889: Indians, Cowboys, and Miners in the Year of Statehood.Royalties from book sales support the programs and grants of Humanities Montana.